NHL Central Scouting, an excellent resource for the NHL Draft has released it's annual mid-term rankings today. Two current and two future Badgers were fortunate enough to be recognized by Central Scouting.
The two current Badgers, forward Michael Mersch and defenseman Frankie Simonelli need no introduction. I think both players have exceeded expectations a bit this season at Wisconsin and both are looked upon as important players as the Badgers move forward in their season. Both players are expected to be drafted and their rankings by Central Scouting reflect as much.
Mersch, a 6'2, 198 pound winger is ranked as the #62 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Adding in European players and goalies, that's a third round projection for Mersch in this summers NHL Draft.
Simonelli, who is listed at 5'10.75, 190 pounds is ranked as the #92 North American skater by CS. When you add in Euro's and goalies, That's around the 4th of 5th round in this summers draft.
An interesting name to follow regarding the draft is Wisconsin recruit Brad Navin. The 6'3, 183 pound center from Waupaca high school is ranked as the #150 North American Skater by Central Scouting. That puts Navin right down towards the end of the draft. Many feel that he would have increased his draft stock by moving to the USHL this season when the opportunity presented itself. I think unquestionably that this is the case but I can see from his point of view why he decided to stay at Waupaca for his senior season.
The other Badger recruit on the list is 6'2.5, 190 pound winger Brendan Woods from Muskegon of the USHL. Last season Central Scouting had Woods listed as the #52 North American skater and he got passed by all 30 NHL teams in all 7 rounds of the draft. Woods isn't lighting up the score board in the USHL by any means so it will be interesting to see if any NHL team takes a shot on him in this draft. Also note that his father is an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals.
There are three other players with Wisconsin ties to be featured by Central Scouting. Stevens Point native and Colorado College recruit Aaron Harstad is ranked #149. Harstad, who plays for the Green Bay Gamblers was passed over in last years draft. Max McCormick, a DePere, WI native and Ohio State recruit is ranked #159. McCormick is having a great rookie year in the USHL with Sioux City. And finally at #190 checks in defenseman Joey Fiala from Verona. Fiala, a Western Michigan recruit is playing with the USA NTDP U18's this season.
Photo courtesy of Melody Hasse
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